‘Gay Essay’ Photographer Helped Bring Queer Life Out of Shadows

This weekend marks the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, the spark that touched off the gay liberation movement. As the LGBT community prepares for the San Francisco Pride Celebrations, the de Young Museum has opened an exhibit of photographs by Anthony Friedkin. Titled The Gay Essay, these candid images of queer life in San Francisco and LA were made in the late ’60s and early 70s — when homosexuality was still illegal in California.

Friedkin’s photographs of friends, lovers, hustlers, activists and female impersonators were ahead of their time, and it took more than four decades for his full project to see the light.  KQED Newsroom’s Scott Shafer spoke with Friedkin and others about this groundbreaking work and the dark times that inspired it.

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Cynthia Stone

Cynthia Stone is an Emmy Award winning writer and producer dedicated to telling the stories of people and programs making a difference. Her television and radio documentary and feature work has focused on a variety of issues including education, the environment, trafficking, transformative programs that help children at risk, science and the arts. In addition to here at KQED, her work has appeared on Discovery, PBS, CNBC, Public Radio International/BBC among others.

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